George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Cole Mountflorence, 28 September 1779

To James Cole Mountflorence

Head Quarters West Point Septr 28th 1779


I received by yesterdays Post your letter of the 30th of August and am much obliged by your polite offer of service.1 It is however not in my power to avail myself of it. The appointment of Officers is not with me—and therefore I cannot give you any assurance of your being employed. And besides this consideration, the state of the Army with respect to Officers does not require any new appointments to be made. Under these circumstances I cannot think myself at liberty to encourage you to hope, that one in your favor would take place—and to induce you in consequence, to make a long—fatiguing and expensive journey. I am Sir Yr Most Obedient, servant

Go: Washington

LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit at PPAmP; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft is addressed to Mountflorence at New Bern, North Carolina.

James Cole Mountflorence (c.1745–1820), a native of Ireland, had served in the Irish brigade of the French army before coming to America in 1778 and settling in New Bern, North Carolina. In May 1778, Mountflorence received an appointment as captain in a regiment of French volunteers that North Carolina had tried to raise, but the incomplete regiment was disbanded the following August. In September 1778, North Carolina governor Richard Caswell had recommended Mountflorence to GW (see Caswell to GW, 14 Sept. 1778, n.3). In the fall of 1780, Mountflorence served on the staff of North Carolina militia general Jethro Sumner and as brigade major to militia general William R. Davie. In 1781 and 1782, he was the state assistant commissary and assistant quartermaster for the Salisbury, N.C., district. After the war, Mountflorence acted as a surveyor of western lands and as a commercial land agent. From the mid-1790s until the end of his life, he served as assistant and secretary to several American consuls general and ministers in Paris and at The Hague. He died in Paris.

1This letter has not been found.

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